South Birmingham football club kicks off new partnership with Openreach

A South Birmingham football club with teams across all age groups is joining forces with Openreach.

The 12-month partnership will see the digital network company supporting Crusaders FC (Facebook) by funding new training kit and equipment, including match balls. 

Crusaders, who’ve been serving the local community since 1976 has Girls and Boys Teams (U7 - U18) registered within the Central Warwickshire Girls Football League and Central Warwickshire Youth Football Leagues.

These teams provide a pathway to the Ladies and Men’s Teams who are registered within the West Midlands Womens Regional League and Redditch & District Football League.

The club was nominated for support by Openreach’s Damien Teague, who’s one of the company’s 3,000 engineers working across the West Midlands. When not at work, he’s heavily involved with the football club as Head of Partnership.

Damien, who also coaches the girls under 12’s team, said: “It’s great that Openreach has chosen to support our team.  We know it will be a really positive relationship and we look forward to working closely on different ways to promote diversity and inclusion in sport.

”Playing football is often the highlight of the week for the girls involved in our teams and it’s a great way of bringing young people together from different backgrounds, cultures and interests.

“It’ll be a great moment of pride for me to see our team/s displaying the Openreach logo on their shirts, a company where I have worked for many years.”

The new collaboration follows an Openreach partnership launched with Colchester Kings RFC, East Anglia’s first gay and inclusive rugby club, in December 2022.

Following that deal, Openreach’s people networks – which celebrate and represent employees from all backgrounds – chose additional clubs throughout the UK to work with.

The Openreach people networks – Pride, Gender Equality, Ethnic Diversity, Neurodiversity (NDN) and recently-created Able 2 network – were set up to help develop an inclusive workplace, prioritising education and change, and challenging thinking when needed. The people networks have grown significantly since launching and more than 7000 people are now members of one or more.

Scott Room, Openreach’s director of Brand, Marketing and Digital, said: “We’re proud to be partnering with Crusaders FC. They’re a great example of the positive impact inclusive sports clubs can have on local communities and people, no matter their background or situation. 

“At Openreach, we’re committed to becoming a more diverse and inclusive business which truly reflects the communities we serve across the UK. As the largest employer of telecoms engineers in the UK, we want to use our size to help make positive changes and improve diversity in the engineering sector and in the communities where we operate.”

The company, which is currently extending its Ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network across the UK, is also partnering with Cardiff Dragons, Wales’s first LGBTI+ football club; Everett Rovers Football Club in Watford, which runs a team for players with disabilities; and Glasgow Saints, an amateur football club which is helping to combat food poverty and isolation in the community.